Most Flexible Term Life Insurance: Ladder
Buying life insurance can be a decades-long commitment. Considering that your financial needs may change over time, though, it makes sense that you should be able to change your life insurance coverage as well.
With Ladder, you are able to decrease your coverage at any time through the online platform. Whether you pay down your mortgage, your kids become adults, or your household debt is eliminated, you can easily lower your coverage (and premiums) with just a few clicks.
If you decide later on that you actually need more coverage — up to a maximum of $8,000,000 — you can apply for additional coverage. This makes Ladder unique in the life insurance world, and a great option if you think there’s a chance that your needs will change over the years (in either direction).
Policies through Ladder are available in 10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, and 30-year terms, ranging from $100,000 to $8,000,000 in coverage. Coverage up to $3,000,000 is available 100% digitally from start to finish; just health questions are asked as part of the online application. You can apply for a policy as long as you’re between 20 and 60 years of age. Keep in mind that your age plus term length cannot exceed 70.
Term life insurance policies through Ladder are available in all 50 states and Washington D.C., with their carrier partners. Amica Life Insurance Company has been rated A+ (Superior) affirmed February 8, 2023, and Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York has been rated A+ (Superior) affirmed June 2022 based on an analysis of financial position and operating performance, by A.M. Best Company, an independent analyst of the insurance industry. For the latest rating, access www.ambest.com. A+ is the second highest rating of 15.
Quick facts about Ladder:
- Decrease or apply to increase coverage as needed
- Available in all 50 states and DC
- Coverage of $100,000 up to $8,000,000 available
- Up to $3,000,000 in coverage available 100% online
- 30-day free look period. Cancel anytime with no hidden fees.
Best For Price And Speed: Ethos
Ethos offers several types of policies, designed to make life insurance accessible to as many applicants as possible.
Ethos’ term policies are available for applicants aged 20-65, and you can choose from 10-, 15-, 20-, and 30-year terms (depending on your age). Coverage amounts of up to $2 million are available, depending on what you qualify for. They also offer whole life policies of up to $30k for seniors. So if you’re 66-85 years old, you’re guaranteed to be approved in a matter of minutes, regardless of your medical history.
The application process is free, 100% online, and can be completed in as little as 10 minutes. Based on your answers to a few initial questions, their smart underwriting engine will recommend several personalized coverage options with customizable term lengths and coverage amounts. No medical exams or doctor appointments necessary—all you have to do is answer a few health questions on the application. Most customers even receive same-day coverage.
Quick facts about Ethos:
- No medical exams required (just a few health questions)
- Most applicants enjoy same-day coverage
- Coverage amounts up to $2 million available
- Coverage available in 49 states and the District of Columbia (New York excluded)
- Every policy comes with a 30-day free look period
- No obligations to buy and no hidden fees
- Policies underwritten by top carriers
Why Buying Term Life Insurance is Important
Most of us already know that life insurance plays a key role in any long-term financial plan, especially if we have loved ones or assets that we want to protect. But do you know exactly why life insurance is so important?
Let’s take a look at what term life insurance coverage can actually provide to those you love, and what makes it such a powerful purchase.
It can replace your income. Whether you are the sole breadwinner in your home or earn alongside your spouse, the loss of your income may put a serious strain on your family. With a term life insurance policy, you can replace that income for a determined number of years to help with financial protection for your loved ones.
It protects your estate. After your death, creditors will happily line up for their share of your assets. Whether you have a mortgage, credit card debt, co-signed student loans, or even auto loans, a term life insurance policy can help protect your estate so that your family can keep what you have worked hard to earn.
It can provide for the future. You can use term life insurance proceeds to provide for any number of future plans, such as your children’s college tuition, weddings, or the down payment on their first homes. You may even want to use term life insurance to fund a special endowment, scholarship, or even as a source of generational wealth.
It can cover costly final expenses. In 2021, the national median cost for a funeral (with a viewing and burial) was approximately $7,848*. Between that and potential medical expenses, term life insurance proceeds may help save your family from these hefty bills.
Term vs Whole Life
If you’ve been shopping around for life insurance coverage, you may have come across both term and whole life coverage options. So why would you choose term life over whole life, and what are the advantages of this specific life insurance product?
Term life insurance is often more affordable. Term life insurance is usually a fraction of the cost of whole life insurance. For example, $100,000** of death benefit for a term life policy offered by Ladder starts at $4.95 a month.
Term life insurance is flexible. Need to increase your coverage because you got married, had children, or bought a home (or all three)? Term life insurance policies without the built-in laddering feature can be canceled, allowing you to buy a new one that better suits your needs.
Term life insurance doesn’t have to last forever. Many people purchase life insurance to protect their families while the kids are young, or to cover their mortgage until the family home is paid off. Over time, though, the kids grow up and the house gets paid off, sometimes eliminating the need for life insurance coverage. With term life, you can buy a policy that protects you for the approved length of the policy.
There are also benefits to whole life, such as those who are looking for a policy that builds cash value. If you are unsure what is best for you, check out Ethos' products (our recommended provider for comparing term and whole life policies, especially for those over 50).
When to Buy Life Insurance
Most of us have decades’ worth of exciting plans in mind. Unfortunately, death can sometimes come unexpectedly, making it important to buy life insurance when you hit certain milestones.
Wondering if this is the right time to spring for a new term life policy? Here is when you might consider buying coverage.
Buy while you’re young. The earlier you buy a life insurance policy, the less you’ll typically pay for coverage. That’s because your age, health, and pre-existing conditions all play a role in not just the price you pay, but whether you’re approved for coverage to begin with.
By locking in lower rates while you’re young, you can save hundreds — or even thousands — on life insurance premiums. And if you need more coverage later down the line, you can always apply for additional coverage.
Buy if you have others to provide for. If others rely on you for support (financial or otherwise), life insurance makes sense. So when you get married, have children, or as your parents begin to age, it might be the right time to buy a policy.
Buy if you have debt. Rather than leaving your loved ones holding the bag for certain debts, you can use life insurance proceeds as financial protection. Your coverage can pay off the mortgage on the family home, wipe out shared credit card debt, or even eliminate those student loans that your parents co-signed for years ago.
Benefits of Online Life Insurance
Life insurance looks very different today than it did 30, 20, or even 10 years ago. Rather than walking into an insurance agent’s office, you can buy a term life policy online in minutes, even if it’s at 2am.
There are many benefits to the online life insurance trend, too.
- Because the application process is 100% online — avoiding costly office overhead and in-person interviews — many insurtech companies are able to offer lower premiums to consumers.
- Applicants can answer questions, provide documentation, and submit applications in minutes, turning a process that used to take weeks or months into one that can often take minutes.
- Even though some of the popular online life insurance platforms are new to the scene, many are backed by established, trusted names in the industry. For instance, National Family was only launched in 2016, but is owned and backed by Prudential, a company that’s been around since 1875.
- Thanks to cutting-edge algorithms, online life insurers are able to provide immediate coverage to approvable consumers without the need for a medical exam.
Of course, everyone’s experience will be different and can depend on a number of personal factors. However, the insurtech of today has made the life insurance-buying experience easier and faster than ever for nearly all consumers.
Can I still buy life insurance during a pandemic?
With the novel coronavirus affecting the entire world, it might seem like life insurance companies would stop writing new policies. The exact opposite is true, however! You can absolutely still buy term life insurance right now (even during a pandemic).
If you are required to have a medical exam, there may be a waiting period before your coverage kicks in. Or, in some cases, you may be provided with temporary coverage until your exam can be coordinated.
How quickly can I get life insurance coverage?
Depending on your health history, age, and a few other personal factors, you can theoretically have an approved life insurance policy in mere minutes. Companies like Ladder can approve you without a medical exam (just health questions are asked as part of the online application), and qualifying Ethos customers often get an answer in less than a minute.
All that’s left then is to upload any required documentation and make your first premium payment, and you’re covered.
Will life insurance cover a COVID-19 related death?
Typically a pandemic is not excluded from life insurance coverage, but you will need to check your specific policy for confirmation. Just be sure to disclose any current illnesses, medical concerns, and recent or upcoming travel; these won’t necessarily exclude you from approval, but there may be a waiting period involved before your coverage kicks in.
Is the coronavirus affecting the price of life insurance?
As of yet, term life insurance premiums seem to be holding steady even with the global impacts of the coronavirus. While that situation could always change later on down the line — depending on how the pandemic plays out, for instance — prices are staying low for now.
* Funeral costs - source:
** Ladder's lowest rate displayed is for a 10-year, $100K policy for a 20-year-old female with a preferred plus rating.